Monday
Nov172014

How to Program Deadlifts at CrossFit Affiliates


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit another gym while on vacation. I was excited to go and especially since starting to write ITA, I've become even more curious about how other people run classes and write their programming. At this affiliate, the strength segment called for a 3RM deadlift, followed by 10RM deadlift. At the whiteboard review, there wasn't a lot of context provided for the less experienced athletes regarding how to organize their lifting to meet the two goals. Curious about the intention of the programming, I approached the coach and asked her three relatively basic questions: 1) Are these touch-and-go or dead start deadlifts; 2) How many attempts at the 3RM and 10RM are you expecting us to do; and 3) Do you have any guidance as to how to pick a 10RM weight based on the 3RM. In a noncommittal tone, she told me to do whatever I felt like doing since it wasn't specified.

Looking around the room, unable to turn off my coaching eye, people seemed to be just winging it, making multiple attempts at 3 and 10RMs, dropping the bar frequently, and some were losing their positioning from the accumulated fatigue. Without proper context and guidance, people were more or less left to their own devices to figure out the programming and a few were overextending themselves beyond what they could organize and handle. The coach was walking around trying to help people with fault corrections, but refining movement is only one part of what makes an effective and professional coach. Understanding the intention of your programming, communicating it effectively, and then being able to scale or modify based on what you see are equally important, and unfortunately were in short shift during this segment. 

I've wanted to write an article about programming deadlifts at CrossFit affiliates for a while and my experience at this gym brought it back to the forefront of my mind. Executed correctly, the deadlift is the most effective exercise for overloading hip extension and developing a strong and stable back. But done incorrectly or programmed haphazardly, the deadlift is an extremely effective way to fuck yourself or your members up. In today's article, we'll discuss how we program deadlifts at CFSBK for strength versus using them in metcons, and we’ll share some additional thoughts related to basic execution of the lift and context of usage.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov102014

Collective Learning and CrossFit


Inside the Affiliate’s first birthday was yesterday, and I’m proud to say that we’ve written over 50 articles, with almost 200,000 pageviews. Writing this blog has helped me connect with people from all over the world and even refined how I approach practices at my own gym. I originally got into CrossFit back in 2005, and continue to be thankful for the huge network of people and training philosophy that CrossFit provided, both of which served as a jumping-off point for me to build a successful business. As I’ve mentioned before, I started ITA in large part because I want to give something back to the community and create the resource I would have wanted back when I was starting out. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov032014

How to Find the Balance Between Training and Exercise at CrossFit Affiliates


In a Huffington Post article at the beginning of 2014, noted strength coach and author Mark Rippetoe discussed the differences between training and exercise. Read the full article here, but in essence, Rippetoe says:

Training involves “directed physical stress,” and is “the process of going from where you are now to where you want to be later for the purpose of meeting a specific performance goal.”
Exercise is physical activity performed for the effect it produces today—right now. Each workout is performed for the purpose of producing a stress that satisfies the immediate needs of the exerciser: burning some calories, getting hot, sweaty, and out of breath, pumping up the biceps, stretching—basically just punching the physical clock” (Practical Programming, 3rd Edition). 

While some debate ensued regarding other specifics in the article, the real value of this discussion, in my opinion, is the standardization of semantics when discussing the effectiveness of a program. These definitions are useful because most people have no idea what the difference is between training and exercise—and as an affiliate owner or coach, you need to be able to explain to your members why Barry’s Bootcamp or SoulCycle are not actually training.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct132014

Own the Weight: Moving Beyond PR-Dominated Thought in CrossFit

By Noah Abbott

Originally published on CrossFit South Brooklyn's blog

A world-record mile. A half court shot to win a million bucks. A hit single that rules the airwaves for a month or two. Society has become more and more obsessed with the rare and extraordinary, celebrating and venerating the “once-in-a-lifetime” moment over the slow and steady grind of dogged hard work and incremental progress. Seen through this lens, greatness becomes a montage of single-frame snapshots instead of long form cinema verite. 

CrossFitters are not immune to this type of thinking. We celebrate PR’ed lifts and WODs, then cling to the numbers as though they are immutable testaments to our continued performance. This partially attributable to CrossFit’s complicated balance between training and sport.Singular numbers matter during competition, as they may be the difference between a win and a loss. They matter psychologically, as the tangible and obvious payoff from long hours of toil and sacrifice. However, confusing PRs with overall fitness, or becoming too reliant or attached to them, is folly. Consider this statement:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
—Aristotle

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct062014

CrossFit Oahu: Inside a Hawaii Affiliate

As told to Katharine Reece for Inside the Affiliate by CrossFit Oahu owner, Bryant Powers. 

Basic Statistics

Gym name: CrossFit Oahu

Locations: 5 locations, in Honolulu, Kailua, Waipio, Kaneohe, and Pearl City

Affiliation year: 2006

Estimated number of members per location: 808… Not really. People come in and ask how many members we have, but that’s not really the right question. You get a lot of members by being good, sure, but you could also set up a system where there is no Elements class and people could join on contract like at a globo gym, and you could technically have 2,000 people. We have a lot of members, but I don’t like this metric as a measure for how good a gym is.

Square footage per location: Our main gym in Honolulu is almost 15,000 square feet (not including the upstairs); Kailua is 2,000; Waipio is 4,000; Kaneoat is 1,500; and Pearl City 4,500.

Gym owner's name: Bryant Powers

Number of full-time and part-time trainers: 10-12 fulltime and 20 part-time 

Click to read more ...